The Crips gang was originally formed on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. This gang was formed by two teenagers, Raymond Washington who was only fifteen, and Stanley “Tookie” Williams, who was just barely a legal adult. These two men formed the street gang known as the Baby Avenues in 1969. The gang was designed to mimic the structure of the well organized Black Panther gangs. The Baby Avenues originally began to commit minor crimes under the Black Panthers supervision before it began to grow into the Crips.
As soon as the Baby Avenues began to make a name for themselves, they changed it. Soon after becoming known the Baby Avenues changed their name to Avenue Cribs, in honor of Central Avenue in East Los Angeles (where the Baby Avenues originated). At the time of the name change, a color was also adopted for the gang. A deep blue bandanna worn around the neck was the main sign of membership, but any form of this color grew into an accepted membership “flag”. With the birth of the color many people began to be wrongly targeted by other gangs, and tension and violence increased.
With increasing popularity, numbers, and violence the Avenue Cribs began to make a strong reputation for their gang. The blue color became widely known by law enforcement, as well as non-gang members, and was avoided by the general population. The gang went through one last transformation with the gain of its popularity with another name change. Within the general and gang community alike their name was shortened to Crips. These Crips grew their turf so rapidly, they became the largest gang in Los Angeles for many years.
During their expansion in the sixties and seventies the Crips focused on gaining members, as well as turf in the Los Angeles area. In order to facilitate their expansion methods of fear and violence were implemented on citizens as well as smaller gangs. This amount of force and tension caused the Crips biggest rival to form from many smaller sets. This rival of the Crips became known as the Bloods and is still their main rival today. After the period of “war” up until the eighties, the Crips began to focus their efforts towards the drug trade and making profit. Much of the violence from the 1980s on was only about making money, and advancing your set into wealth. With financial gain becoming the main focus of the gang, members spread throughout the United States, and it seems the Crips gang will never die as long as this is their focus.
Like many gangs the Crips started out with a novel idea to be part of a black movement. Over time it has transformed and been corrupted by financial gain through criminal acts. It seems there is nothing that will keep this gang from attempting to make money, and members have been found in all areas of life from police officers to military personnel. This gang has grown rapidly every single year since formed, and it seems the Crips are a part of our society that are here to stay.